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Senate impeachment trial: Managers outline the case for removing Trump

George Conway said he hasn't talked with any GOP senators about President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, but that he can "only assume" they are working together on impeachment to the benefit of their own individual situations, and to the disadvantage of the Democratic party.

Posted: Jan 22, 2020 6:10 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2020 6:10 PM

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff detailed the House's case for removing President Donald Trump from office on Wednesday as the Senate's trial shifted to opening arguments following a contentious first day spent debating the rules of the impeachment trial.

Schiff argued to senators that the House had overwhelming evidence showing that Trump abused his office and obstructed Congress, but that the case would be even more clear to both the Senate jurors and the public if senators voted to obtain additional witnesses and documents. The California Democrat, who is the lead impeachment manager for the House, invoked Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in his opening statements, that kicked off the House's 24 hours for arguments.

LIVE UPDATES: Impeachment trial of President Trump

"We are here today -- in this hallowed chamber, undertaking this solemn action for only the third time in history --because Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, has acted precisely as Hamilton and his contemporaries had feared," Schiff said. "President Trump solicited foreign interference in our democratic elections, abusing the power of his office by seeking help from abroad to improve his reelection prospects at home. And when he was caught, he used the powers of that office to obstruct the investigation into his own misconduct."

Schiff's presentation marked a new phase of the trial, after a marathon debate on Tuesday where Republicans repeatedly rejected motions to subpoena witnesses and documents related to the Ukraine scandal. The House's 24 hours of arguments, which will be spread over three days, are intended to hammer home its case but also to try to convince moderate GOP senators that the trial should include additional testimony and documents.

It's not clear whether the votes will be there for Democrats, as four Republican senators would need to join with them in voting for subpoenaing documents and witnesses. After Tuesday's debate, where Senate Democrats offered 11 amendments that were then rejected nearly every time on a party-line vote, GOP senators said they remained unconvinced. Several echoed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's arguments, laid out on Tuesday, against having witnesses for the trial after each side makes its presentations and the senators have a chance to ask questions.

"Our side has not changed our view on this," said Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican. "I think where House Democrats failed (Tuesday), and maybe Senate Democrats failed, was trying to use the time in a way that would wear us out ... and deny the President's team any response this week."

Tensions simmering after marathon session

In particular, GOP senators took aim at Nadler, who accused Republican senators of a "cover-up" in his late-night argument to vote to subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton.

"Chairman Nadler ... when he started talking, I mean, people kind of jerked to attention because what he was saying and the way he was conducting himself, I think it was so insulting and outrageous it was a shock to all of us," said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican.

After Nadler's presentation and a heated rebuttal from the President's lawyers Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, who attacked Nadler, Chief Justice John Roberts admonished both sides, reminding them to keep their discourse civil.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, said Nadler was "especially partisan" Tuesday night and that is "not helpful to their cause, frankly, because, you know, a lot of our members believe it was a partisan process coming out of the House and I think the tone (Tuesday) in many respects reinforces that. So if they're trying to win the argument, that's probably not the best way to go about it."

Thune told CNN that the record "is pretty complete" when asked if there should be witnesses.

Schiff declined to answer questions about the criticism of Nadler before the managers went into the chamber for Wednesday's session.

"The President late last night, depending where you are in the world, the President bragged he had the material," he told reporters. "Indeed, they do have the material hidden from the American people. That is nothing to brag about. If the senators are serious about wanting to learn all the facts, if the President's team wants to contest any of the facts, these documents and witnesses will need to be produced."

Schiff outlined how the seven House managers would make their presentations over the next three days, saying that senators would hear about "the extensive evidence collected during the House's impeachment inquiry," but also from those witnesses who did not testify — Bolton, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House budget official Michael Duffey and White House aide Robert Blair.

"You will hear their testimony at the same time as the American people. That is, if you will allow it. If we have a fair trial," Schiff said. "And you will see dozens of new documents, providing new and critical evidence of the President's guilt, that remain in his hands, and in the hands of the department of Defense and State, the Office of Management and Budget, even the White House. You will see them, and so will the public, if you will allow it. If, in the name of a fair trial, you will demand it."

Vote on witnesses looms over arguments

Democrats say they forced the votes on witnesses and documents Tuesday night because the rules may not give them a chance to do so later in the trial. McConnell's rules have only teed up a general vote on whether additional witnesses and documents should be subpoenaed, which will end the conversation on witnesses if it fails.

"It was non-negotiable for us that the Senate at least consider the question of evidence witnesses and documents and the rules of a fair trial," Schumer said. "We would not be doing our job if we didn't try to make this trial fair. We're going to continue to do it."

House impeachment managers will have the next three days to make their case to senators, after McConnell backed away from a proposal for just two days amid complaints from key Republicans in his conference. After the House's time is done, the President's legal team will also get three days to give the President's defense. When opening arguments are complete, senators will get 16 hours to ask questions by submitting them through the chief justice.

At that point, senators will address the question of whether to have witnesses and documents — a vote that could signal the beginning of the end of the trial. Democrats need to peel off four Republican senators to back additional witnesses and documents.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is one potential vote. While McConnell held the Republican conference together to oppose the amendments on subpoenas for witnesses like Mulvaney and Bolton, Collins did join the Democrats to support one amendment, which would have given the two sides 24 hours to respond to trial motions on Wednesday. It was moot anyway — neither side submitted any motions.

Collins and other possible Republican crossovers say they want to wait until after the opening arguments before making a decision on witnesses.

This story has been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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